GOP’s No. 2 to meet with Latino group on immigration after the election

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas talks to reporters outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 26.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas talks to reporters outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 26. AP

Republicans are running hard on strict immigration policies that excite their base in this fall’s midterm elections.

Two days after that contest ends, however, the GOP’s second-highest ranking Senate leader, who is up for re-election in Texas in 2020, plans to sit down with the president of a national Latino advocacy group to discuss the issue.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is likely to face a tough race in a state that where Democrats improved their showing in the most recent presidential election. He’s invested significant resources courting Hispanic support for his past races.

Domingo Garcia, a Dallas resident who took over as president of the League of United Latin American Citizens in July, told the Star-Telegram Monday that he has a Nov. 8 meeting scheduled with Cornyn to discuss, among other things, finding a solution to keep DACA recipients in the country. A Cornyn aide said his office is “in touch with the organization” and “working to set up a meeting,” but did not confirm the date.

Federal courts stopped President Donald Trump’s attempt to end the DACA program earlier this spring. Multiple lawsuits are again challenging its constitutionality in court, including one filed by in August by Texas’ attorney general.

Cornyn was among the GOP leaders who last year negotiated with Democrats on multiple failed efforts to protect DACA recipients from deportation. His stance on past efforts to unite Republicans and Democrats on an immigration solution have frustrated immigration groups immensely, however.

The meeting with Cornyn comes as leaders of the nonpartisan LULAC have become increasingly irritated with other Texas Republican officials, who Garcia said are treating Texas’ Latino voters like a “political pinata.”

At a gathering in Fort Worth Saturday morning, Garcia railed against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office touted indicting four Fort Worth Latinas for suspected voter fraud earlier this month. Local Republican officials were invited to the event and have attended in the past, but only Democrats spoke that morning at Nuevo Leon restaurant.

“The Republican Party has decided that the politics of fear mongering and hate will play well to their base and will get their voters out [to the polls],” Garcia said of the candidates on the ballot this fall.

Of Cornyn, however, Garcia said: “We consider him to be open-minded and willing to work across the aisle.”

“We really need bipartisan pushes on immigration reform and on health care and on education and on infrastructure,” said Garcia, who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2014.

Garcia noted that the November election results will greatly determine what he’s able to accomplish in their meeting.

Democrats need to flip 23 GOP-held seats to take control of the House this fall. They need a net gain of two seats to take control of the Senate.

Garcia said he wants to “start the dialog and see if we can get the ball rolling” on an immigration solution that “will protect the Dreamers (a nickname for DACA recipients) and the veterans that have been deported.”

“I want to speak to Senator Cornyn and other Republicans to see where we can find compromise and middle ground,” he added.

Andrea Drusch is the Washington Correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She can be reached at; @andreadrusch